Fracture seismic is the method for recording and analyzing passive seismic data for mapping the fractures in the subsurface. Fracture seismic is able to map the fractures because of two types of mechanical actions in the fractures. First, in cohesive rock, fractures can emit short duration energy pulses when growing at their tips through opening and shearing. The industrial practice of recording and analyzing these short duration events is commonly called micro-seismic. Second, coupled rock–fracture–fluid interactions take place during earth deformations and this generates signals unique to the fracture’s physical characteristics. This signal appears as harmonic resonance of the entire, fluid-filled fracture. These signals can be initiated by both external and internal changes in local pressure, e.g., a passing seismic wave, tectonic deformations, and injection during a hydraulic well treatment. Fracture seismic is used to map the location, spatial extent, and physical characteristics of fractures. The strongest fracture seismic signals come from connected fluid-pathways. Fracture seismic observations recorded before, during, and after hydraulic stimulations show that such treatments primarily open pre-existing fractures and weak zones in the rocks. Time-lapse fracture seismic methods map the flow of fluids in the rocks and reveal how the reservoir connectivity changes over time. We present examples that support these findings and suggest that the fracture seismic method should become an important exploration, reservoir management, production, and civil safety tool for the subsurface energy industry.
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